My first time watching My Neighbor Totoro was overdue and it helped me through a lot of pain

My Neighbor Totoro (1988) from Studio Ghibli

I’m so ashamed. It’s been around for more than 30 years and, until two days ago, I never watched My Neighbor Totoro. I know, I should be horsewhipped, but I can honestly say it was worth the wait. I needed it after the week I had, and it helped me in more ways than you can imagine. I never laughed so hard in all my life.

You see, I lost my sister this week. She was my older sister, Trina, and to be honest, we didn’t have a lot in common. We fought more than we agreed on things, but still, she was my sister and I loved her. It’s been a difficult start to the new year, but watching My Neighbor Totoro helped.

Satsuki reminded me of my sister, a strong older sister always looking out for her sibling. Strong, fierce, and domineering . . . That was my sister. Losing her hit me harder than I thought it would. It made me realize my own mortality and that it can happen to any of us. It’s how Satsuki felt when she thought she lost Mei, and how Mei felt when she was worried about her mother in the hospital. And who was there to help? Totoro!

That giant forest spirit, a lovable bundle of fur with a smile that can erase any pain, saved those girls. And you know what? He saved me too. He helped me get through my grief and focus on what we had, not the “coulda, shoulda, woulda” that bewitches us all when death occurs. Totoro made me forget all the sadness when I watched him and the other spirits do their dance over the acorn tree seedlings, or when he smiled and bounced after hearing the water drip on the umbrella. It was so hilarious.

I loved every moment of this movie and it was what I needed to bring me back to 2022 and focus on the year ahead. I can’t look back, can’t live with regrets or grieve forever. Life goes on, and thanks to Totoro, I know that.

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Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Get ready for the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, coming soon from Revolutionary Press; and The River of Souls novella, coming soon from Curious Corvid PublishingThe Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel are future installments of my current fantasy book series, coming soon.

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